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School meals: An important part of school life

News ,  Current news ,  Waldorf worldwide

As most of the pupils at Rudolf Steiner School Mbagathi in Kenya come from families with very low incomes, the school management attaches great importance to providing the children with school meals. Mercy Njoki, a member of the school staff, reports on why this is currently being given a special focus.

The Rudolf Steiner School Mbagathi offers education and creative care to children from disadvantaged groups in society. In order to be able to fulfil this task at all, the provision of school meals is an important factor, because most children do not have enough food at home. The meals they receive at school are the only daily meals they get. Some children come to school with empty stomachs - hunger affects their concentration and their ability to learn. Because of this, anyone who wants to can have breakfast with us: a big banana and hot milk in the morning, or warm porridge. This was made possible a few years ago through a special appeal for donations. Since the introduction of this school breakfast, the children smile and can participate much more effectively in class.

In the last five years, the number of children at our school has increased by about 21%. Our school is currently at full capacity with 400 children. The increase came about because we decided to increase the classes in the lower school from 30 to 34 children. More and more parents are applying to enrol their children at our school, and it was our decision to make this possible for more children. We have 104 children in the kindergarten and 296 in classes 1 to 9. 120 of the children are in boarding school. Many of the children are orphans or come from broken, traumatised family backgrounds. We currently receive full school fees for only 13% of the children. Originally, about 20% of our parents were able to pay the school fees. In the current situation, many can no longer contribute the full amount. During the Corona crisis, there were many cases of job losses, which led to hopelessness and great poverty among our school families. Then came the war in Ukraine, which resulted in, among other things, a reduction of imports for important products. Prices for food, oil and fuel all skyrocketed and inflation rose sharply. The financial situation of families is deteriorating day by day. The introduction of new taxes by the government is also a big challenge for many people and affects the day-to-day running of our school.

The expenses for feeding the students make up a large part of the school budget. We are proud to be able to offer meals to the children as this is a great motivation for them to come to school and thus learn. Currently, we are struggling to feed the 400 children and 55 staff because there are not enough sponsorships and donations. Help us by contributing to feed a child at school. Just 20 Euros can provide a child with school meals for a whole month.

Mercy Njoki

from Waldorf Worldwide, Autumn/Winter 2023/2024

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